Sarah Silverman doesn’t think a woman asking for equal pay with men is such a ridiculous thing to ask for. She’s joining the Levo League, the website and organization dedicated to empowering women in their careers, in their new campaign #Ask4More. Sarah released a video leading up to National Equal Pay day where she talks about her own wage gap experience.
In the video, Sarah talked about working at the New York Comedy Club with Todd Barry years ago. She said she and Todd both did 15 minute sets and then-owner Al Martin payed Todd Barry $60 and paid Sarah only $10 for doing the exact same amount of stage time. Speaking about the experience, Sarah said, “If you work a job and a man is working the same job, you should be getting paid the same. I don’t think anyone’s asking for more than what’s fair.”
Al Martin doesn’t own the club anymore, but current co-owner Emilio Savone is in full agreement with Silverman’s cause, and is hosting a night of comedy to benefit #Ask4More to prove it. “We are not the same ownership,” Savone said, “we recently took over the club. We are new owners and if you look at our lineups we have some of the most diverse lineups in the city. We always make it a point to have diverse lineups. We’re huge supporters of women in comedy.” Savone added that the current incarnation of the New York Comedy Club not only seeks gender diversity on its stage, but also ethnic diversity and a good mix of new emerging talent along with top billed pros.
Al Martin, who owned the club at the time Sarah is referring to, had his own response to Sarah’s remarks, and put out his own video (watch below). On the Facebook page for Broadway Comedy Club Martin posted that the reason Sarah was paid less had nothing to do with her chromosomes– it was because she was doing a ‘guest spot’ which is different from being ‘booked.’
“Are you kidding? You come in to my club 15 years ago and ask me for a guest spot, I did not ask you to perform and you were not booked, and Then you ask me for pay ? You asked to work out some material ..Then you make this a gender pay thing ? Sarah great cause I am with it, but I did not pay you less cause of gender …..I paid you less because Todd Barry was booked and you weren’t…It was a GUEST SPOT, so I gave you some car fare, which actually is more than almost any club would have given for a GUEST Spot…Funny how in your attempt to become a super hero with a noble cause, you forgot that little fact…GUEST SPOT ….GUEST SPOT.”
Savone doesn’t want to get caught up in whether or not it was or wasn’t a guest spot, he’s looking to focus on positive steps that he can take to help a cause that he and the club fully support. The New York Comedy Club “Equal Pay Event” is being called 70 Cents On The Dollar – A Night of Comedy Supporting Equal Pay and kicks off at 8pm on the 14th with a great lineup that showcases equally paid male and female comedians Bonnie McFarlane, Joe Matarese, Emma Willman, Zainab Johnson and more to be announced. All proceeds will be benefit Equal Pay Day.
Both Silverman’s and Martin’s videos appear below.